THE BLOG
01/11/2013 01:32 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2013

Tennessee Teacher Cheating Ring: The Plot Thickens

In November, we reported on a major teacher cheating ring that was unfolding in Memphis, Tenn. We wrote:

Federal prosecutors recently obtained an indictment of Clarence Mumford Sr. for allegedly running a scam that enlisted ringers to take the Praxis teacher-licensing exam on behalf of would-be teachers in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. According to the indictment obtained by Western Tennessee's U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III, Mumford, a former assistant principal, received between $1,500 and $3,000 for each test his ringers took. To get his test-takers into the room, he allegedly created fake identification cards and Social Security numbers.

Since the grand jury indicted Mumford this summer, the case -- highlighted by the Associated Press this weekend -- has expanded to include Mumford's son and several other teachers. His son, Clarence Mumford Jr., was indicted with having one such ringer take the test for him and then using his phony credentials to get a job. The middle-man whose alleged deception first tipped off investigators is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 7.

Now, the case is expanding. Rodney King, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney there, just called to fill me in on a recent development. Jeryl Shaw, 40, has pled guilty to aiding and abetting production of false IDs.

What's fascinating is that Shaw isn't a teacher. Rather, he has a Master's degree in polymer chemistry. Some more details came out as Shaw spoke. Mumford allegedly pulled Shaw's wife, Shantell, into the scheme. Shantell Shaw was a new high school teacher when Mumford allegedly approached her to take a biology certification test under someone else's name. That was just the beginning -- Shaw was allegedly paid about $8,000 for taking 12-15 tests, according to a previous statement from U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III.

Now, Jeryl Shaw is saying that his wife pulled him into the scheme. I'm told he's "the last guy you would have thought would do something like this." This entire case is a true family affair: Mumford's son, Clarence Mumford, Jr., was indicted with having a ringer take a test on his behalf.

The case particularly interesting, many have previously noted, because the main Praxis exam is actually known for being pretty easy! Stay tuned for news on this. Mumford himself is supposed to appear in court on January 25.